Ah, Leipzig Games Conference Business Day: a full nine hours of exploring the massive halls of the Leipziger-Messe convention center without a member of the 'Dreaded Public' in sight. We managed to get our hands on a number of games during this time and, after hearing mixed reviews and impressions of Lair, we made that our first priority.
We were immediately impressed with the visual quality of the game. The effort put into the character models and environments are evident, though there are occasional framerate drops. (We only noticed one framerate dip during the 20 minute play through and it was over within a second or two.) The detail in the graphics is most obvious when your dragon belly is scraping along the ground, or across the ocean.
As far as gameplay goes, we only had a chance to play a flying section, but it was very enjoyable. The SixAxis controls felt great -- which surprised us, since the controls had received the most negative press. Flying around as a dragon was incredibly satisfying as we could feel the weight of the creature when swooping down or pulling up further into the sky. It reminded us of the old DOS game Magic Carpet in how you had to compensate for momentum, lest you fly much further than intended.
As a result, the game features an auto lock-on targeting system. If your target is near the center of the screen then your fireballs will hone in on it, allowing you to concentrate on which attacks to make, not when to make them. The lock on also allows you to press the circle button and zoom towards your target, initiating close-quarters combat. An arrow in the top right hand corner alerts you to any nearby targets and a quick flick of the remote makes your dragon perform a mid-air U-turn, making maneuverability quite manageable.
Overall the demo was good fun, though there was no indication as to the length or depth of the final product. The one thing we're hoping for is that they change the voice acting before launch. Honestly, you may as well call it "Frat Boys On Dragons: The Game."